Reflection of Australia Internship

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First, I’d like to apologize for these last three posts about Australia being so late. When I got back to America I had a lot to catch up on and school started so I’m just now getting to sit down and update. This will also be my last post about Australia.

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I had the best summer of my life this year. I still can’t believe I was in Australia for 10 weeks. It went by too fast! My intership in the media and communications department at AgForce Queensland couldn’t have been any better. It’s hard to land a good internship here in America, and I fully believe my internship could compete with some of those good internships. The first week I was there I was doing telephone interviews (which scared the crap out of me, I was just praying I’d be able to understand everyone) and writing articles for Envoy – the member magazine produced at AgForce. I learned so much from Stacey and Nadine. I’m thankful for all their help and encouragement while I was there and for hauling me here, there and yonder.

Not only was my trip to Australia a great professional experience, but a wonderful personal growth experience for myself. While I was in Australia, I had a lot of time to think. To think about what I wanted to do the rest of my life, what I want out of the rest of my life, and how I want to live the rest of my life. One big difference in Australia and America is the way of thinking. In America, we live to work. Meaning, everything we do revolves around work. In Australia, they work to live. Meaning, as soon as they leave work they try not to think about it until they arrive back at work. For American’s, it’s very hard to flip the work switch off. We also aren’t afforded the opportunities like they are. Typically, American’s get a two-week vacation time off from work. Australia gets a three-week vacation time off. They’re also a much more laid back society. They drink, a lot. It’s not uncommon to have a drink at lunch and on a Friday afternoon around 4 p.m. for the CEO and whoever wants to join in have a few drinks at work before going home. That would never happen in America!

Being in Australia helped me to realize that I need to change my way of thinking. I believe that having a Momma who worked two sometimes three jobs at a time and growing up on a ranch with my Daddy, who has a full-time job in conjunction with the responsbilities of the ranch, and having a paying job since I was 15, it’s just engrained in me to work. Now, I’m working toward the “work to live” mentality and really trying to turn work off after I leave. Leaving the time I’m not at work for myself so I can do what I want. I’ve started doing this, and I already feel like a new person. I’m not constantly checking my emails. I’m more productive at work so I don’t have to bring my work laptop home to do things. I feel like a small weight has been lifted off my shoulders and that I have more time to do things that I want to do.

Many of the things I observed and noticed while there are hard to explain because sometimes it was the little things that really stood out to me. For example, at lunch most took their full hour break and took their break in the kitchen area (which was the biggest kitchen area I’ve ever seen in a work place). They weren’t taking their lunch to their desks unless they absolutely had to. It’s small things like taking your full lunch break and getting out of your office that make a difference for your mental state.

I really enjoyed getting to know everyone while I was there. Our lunch conversations were always so fun because there was an American, Australians, and a Pom (someone from England). Who knew all the different ways people say things?! For example: cilantro = coriandor, peppers = capsicums, arugala = rocket, butternut squash = pumpkin, and the list goes on and on. I loved listening to all the traveling adventures everyone has. They’ve been all over! Most people in American don’t get outside of the American borders! Everyone I worked with probably doesn’t even know or realize just how much they helped me grow just by sitting down and having a conversation with me.

I loved my experience and wouldn’t trade it for anything! I mean, I held two koalas and snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef twice! Australia is an amazing country I’d love to visit again someday and would highly recommend to anyone looking to vacation somewhere. It really was a great professional and personal growth opportunity that came at just the right time! Right before my last year of my Ph.D. program, and I get a big girl job and try to figure out the rest of my life. But, honestly, I don’t have nor need to figure it out right now. That’s in God’s hands and he has a plan. I just figure out bits and pieces along the journey.

The word cloud of Australia is what was created after I uploaded my reflection to a word cloud generator. I used Tagxedo. The larger the word, the more it occurred through the text.

I appreciate everyone who’s kept up with my blog while I was in Australia and now. I’m glad I decided to blog! Not just for me, but to also share what I’ve learned and hopefully to spark an interest or curosity in those who have read this. Thank you!

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About Chelsey Ahrens

I currently work for the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service in the Animal Science Department. I'm the Specialty Livestock/Youth Education Specialist. I have a Ph.D. in agricultural communications from Texas Tech, a master's in agricultural leadership from the University of Georgia, and a bachelor's in animals science from the University of Arkansas. I love all things agriculture, particularly livestock. I also like to bake, cook, can, sew, and play with my dog child, Shooter.

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